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Peterson hails program that helps dairy farmers

Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minnesota) thanked U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for quickly implementing the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment Program, which he said will help dairy farmers who are struggling with a severe economic crisis facing the industry.

The program will make a payment to eligible dairy farmers based on their production and marketing for the months of February through July 2009. Funding for these one-time payments was included in the 2010 Agricultural Appropriations Bill.

"This is an essential stop-gap measure that will help many dairy farmers stay in business in the short-term," Peterson said. "Looking forward, it is obvious that our existing dairy programs are not providing an adequate safety net for dairy farmers, and we need to look at ways we can reform dairy policy to ensure that it provides adequate support for the long-term success of the industry."

Additional information about the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment Program is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at